JAMIE SCHMALE MP Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock

KAWARTHA LAKES: Local MP Jamie Schmale welcomes today’s announcement by the Government of Canada to contribute $71 million in funding to develop the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) mobile broadband project.
“I have been talking about the need to fill the gaps in internet and cellular coverage since being first elected in 2015 as people and businesses in rural communities struggle with reduced access to vital connectivity,” said Schmale. “While today’s announcement is a positive step forward, it also is met with frustration, as the government has had the EORN project application on their desk for over two years with little-to-no movement.
“Despite what seemed like endless amounts of meetings to talk about this much needed investment, it appears that on the eve of an election, with sagging poll numbers and seats in Eastern Ontario in jeopardy, the government has finally decided to take action.”
Today’s announcement will support a Dual-Phase Project, which is mandated to first build 317 new telecommunications towers and an additional 32 local Internet access points to improve overall mobile coverage for residents of Eastern Ontario. The second phase will identify the capacity gaps that result from heavy user-traffic, upgrade equipment to reduce network overloads, and improve service quality in rural communities.
In addition to federal dollars, the Province of Ontario committed months ago $71 million and two years ago, the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus earmarked $10 million towards the initiative, with private partners providing the rest of the funding.
“Residents and businesses in Eastern Ontario would benefit from improved access to online services which allow people to connect with friends, family, business, and community organizations. Most importantly, this proposal will save lives by ensuring cellular access to emergency services in remote areas and improving public safety by connecting all first responders on a dedicated network,” said Schmale.